The book of Philemon is in the New Testament and was written by Paul the preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a letter that Paul wrote to Philemon who was a Leader in the Church at Colossi.
Philemon is believed to be a wealthy man who Paul had at some point saved, with reference to the salvation of his soul. This letter is written towards the end of Paul’s life as he is a prisoner in Rome.
The subject of the letter is a runaway slave named Onesimus who met Paul while in prison and has been converted to the Christian faith.
Paul writes this letter of reconciliation and sends it by the hand of Onesimus to Philemon so that he might accept him when he comes.
These are some of the lessons we can derive from the book of Philemon.
1. The Gospel and Salvation of God is for all
We have to share the gospel of salvation with all men, whether they are wealthy or poor because Jesus loves died for every one of us.
Philemon was a wealthy man but he was saved and he became a Christian. While Onesimus was a servant who also was saved through the gospel of Christ given to both of them. So whether you are wealthy or poor you have the opportunity to be saved as you receive the gospel.
Both Philemon and Onesimus became an inspiration in the house of God because they were reached with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Philemon 4-7
2. Everything happens according to the plan of God
We are convinced that everything happens for a reason and in the life of Onesimus, though he ran away from Philemon, he was led to meet Paul, who gave him the gospel and saved his life.
Paul said that Onesimus’ departure happened for a greater reason- so that he might be saved. We understand that not only Onesimus was saved but he became more useful to his master and also to the body of Christ.
“For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” Philemon 15-16
3. Correct people in love
Whatever we do should be done out of the love of Christ that is in us. As we preach the gospel, It should be in love, correct one another in love, not out of obligation.
Just like Paul said in Philemon 8:11 “Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.
The manifestation of the love of God is seen in the life of Paul as he pleaded with Philemon to accept Onesimus not only as his bondservant but also into the household of God.
He went further promising to repay whatever Onesimus has taken from him. “So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self Philemon 17-19.